An Ethiopian woman has been executed in Saudi Arabia after being found guilty of murdering her employer with an axe. Jinat Farid was executed on Sunday.
This is the 50th death sentence that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has carried out this year.
Farid reportedly worked as a housemaid in the Misan region, 150 km south of Taif. She was found guilty of killing her employer Ghaia Eida al-Harithi after confessing to striking her with an axe about eight times.
Reports indicate that Farid struck Harithi with an axe repeatedly while the latter was knelling and performing her afternoon prayers.
After the horrid incident, which happened in 2013, Farid allegedly stole two gold rings from Harithi’s hand. She is reported to have also stolen an unspecified amount of cash.
The victim’s husband and sons were not present at home when the incident occurred.
“The General Court convicted the murderer, and the sentence was endorsed by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court,” The Interior Ministry of Saudi Arabia said in a statement. “A royal order was issued to execute the sentence.”
Farid was executed in a prison located in Taif after several unsuccessful attempts to appeal her sentence.
Officials did not specify exactly how she was executed. However, in Saudi Arabia, convicted criminals are usually executed by beheading in public.
Although officials did not specify Farid’s age, she is reported to be in her 30s. The exact region where she comes from in Ethiopia remains unclear. It is also unclear if her remains would be sent back home for burial.
Saudi authorities have stressed their commitment to preserve the Gulf kingdom’s security and peace. Officials say there will be repercussions for those who break the law.
Saudi Arabia practices a strict interpretation of Islamic Shari’a law in its jurisdiction. Under the law, the death penalty can be applied to cases of murder, rape, robbery and drug trafficking.
The kingdom executed up to 153 people in 2015. The tally is higher than 2014 by 87. The executions are the highest in the kingdom since 1995 when 192 people were executed.
Saudi authorities have already executed about 53 convicted criminals this year. On Jan 2, 47 men convicted of terrorism were executed. The executions, which have been condemned by international rights groups, has sparked a diplomatic row with Iran.
Tension has been brewing for some time now between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran. However, things escalated last week after a prominent Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was executed.
Saudi claims the cleric was involved in several terror attacks carried out by al- Qaeda. Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran after the news of Nimr al-Nimr’s execution. Protesters reportedly set fire to the building and smashed furniture.
Saudi Arabia responded to the incident by severing ties with Iran. Bahrain and other Shi’ite nations have also cut ties with Iran following the incident.
Africa has also been dragged into the diplomatic row. Sudan, an old ally of Iran, has condemned Tehran for the incident. Somalia and Djibouti have also followed Khartoum in taking sides with Saudi, severing ties with Iran.
Photo: Andrew Biraj/Reuters